The coronavirus has made its way across the world, decimating the produce industry while making it harder for people to trust the food they consume. In order to make the food industry a bit safer and more trustworthy, certain regulations have been put into place in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 and create a safer environment for imported and exported food, food workers, and the general public.
Despite reports that the coronavirus has been labeled as a non-foodborne virus, a new surge of cases in Beijing has caused new regulations to be put into place in China’s food industry. COVID-free certificates are now needed in China to clear imported produce. The idea behind the regulation comes not only from the new Chinese cases of COVID-19 but also from the surge of cases in other countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Brazil.
One of the problems with a COVID-free certification is the lack of knowledge revolving around what happens to produce after it leaves a manufacturing plant. Once given a label of being COVID-free, should the food come into contact with the virus, it will change the designation and invalidate the certification. This also has impacted exporter’s ability to send food to China, with some going so far as to cease exportation altogether. China has also been asked to inspect certain food facilities to attest to its cleanliness.
In Latin America, food regulations have also impacted their imports and exports. During the pandemic, fruits and vegetables have decreased export numbers. While this has been the case over the past few months, recently an increase in demand has been noticed, signaling a growing trust in the food industry. Also, with the increasing gap in need for produce, new opportunities for food production can be acted upon.
One of the biggest issues people are facing during the pandemic is whether or not their working conditions are safe enough. Many different ideas revolve around keeping the workplace clean and virus free. One such idea involves educating workers about the coronavirus and how they can uphold cleanliness standards. Constant access to disinfectant, soap and water, and hand sanitizer can help to keep employees healthy.
Outside of providing health-conscious environments to workers, making the environment healthy for consumers is also a priority. Maintaining social distancing efforts, providing remote ordering and pick-up, and limiting the number of people allowed inside of a structure can greatly reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Many different methods have been suggested and implemented to help the produce industry overcome the pandemic. Going forward, these safety procedures might also help the produce industry overall, well past the COVID-19 outbreak and into the future.